Earn your spot in the golden list
Welcome to my (never complete) GOLDEN LIST with TRANSFRIENDLY venues in the Netherlands! Updated for 2021 (DISCLAIMER: not sure yet which of these places will shut down or go bankrupt in 2021 due to Covid!).
I am particularly reviewing places, (dance) parties, sex-clubs, community events, initiatives and shops that are welcoming and safe towards transgender people, the genderfluid, genderqueers, non-binaries, transmen and transwomen. This means: if anything happens to a trans client, the organisation or venue will support them. I hope it’s not a problem this whole page is in English. I need to reach as broad an audience as possible and lots of genderqueers I know do not speak ‘Nederlands.’
I am NOT just adding any mixed/mainstream or gay space here… “Cafe ‘t Mandje” does not belong in this list. Nor does PANN: it’s too unishaped, monocultural and not queer in the non-mainstream sense. If you’re looking for generic gay spaces, there are plenty of other lists out there on the web. This list could also use some more Fetlife and more intersectional POC input.
However: if you want your venue to be listed: click here, you’re very welcome to ask, invite me and show me how transfriendly you are. Or read about ‘houserules.’
Note: I am looking for a specifically ‘diversity friendly’ or anti-oppression atmosphere, preferably queer but not necessarily so, hard to pin down or explain. The snarky reviews are my personal view so yeah, they can be mean. Also I am (possibly quite wrongly) assuming that places that combine eccentric drag queens, performance art ánd butch dykes are also genderqueerfriendly.
Here it is (updated for 2021):
THE GOLDEN LIST OF QUEERDOM
LIST OF POTENTIALLY TRANSFRIENDLY VENUES
in the Netherlands
(in alphabetical order)A
–ACU, Utrecht. Legalised squat in the queerfriendly student-dominated town of Utrecht – hosts queer parties, some at very irregular intervals (like Ladyfest or Queer Smear) others are regular (like The Lick and Cruise Control), it has non-oppression as a value so usually transfriendly. Hang out here any time!
–Amsterdam Transpride. Personally I’d never go there, but it’s really nice for vanilla transwomen and transmen who are still taking their very first steps in self-acceptance. There’s different pride events, mostly presentations and discussions, during Amsterdam Canal Pride Week. More info and links at their new website TransAmsterdam.B
–Bajestuin, @Amsterdam. It’s…. a garden! A community veggie garden! Initiated by the queer-friendly evicted squatters from the Bajesdorp. With crowdfunding they are now trying to make a legal settlement for artists here in 2021.
–B1 sexbios, Amsterdam/Den Bosch/Putte/Sluis. I have absolutely no idea what this is like. To my knowledge most “sex cinemas” are rather old-fashioned swingers-like venues, with zero knowledge about trans people, and will probably still use the word “she males” but let me know if you’ve been here and what you think of it. Also see: the sex cinema ‘Blinddate’ in Rotterdam.
–BAR, Rotterdam. I lived in Rotterdam for 37 years and finally moved to Amsterdam 9 years ago. In Amsterdam the scene is taken over by rich techno hipsters and therefore dead… I’ve been to the GAY BAR night and enjoyed it immensely. The audience was a mix of young and hip but fairly innocent students, arty peeps, gaygaygay gayz, flirty queers and simply some nice people. No nonsense. Great music and VJ’s. Fun. Party. Unfortunately Gay Bar stopped in 2015 due to TOO MUCH popularity… The 3 different places, called Bar 1, Bar 2 and Bar 3 still exist but now cater mainly to posers. Not sure if they can be saved.
–Bar Bra, Amsterdam. Hm… Not sure at all about this cafe. Handlettered signs, carefully composed Berlin-look-a-like scrap furniture. They sometimes have ‘queer’ themed parties so for now they get the benefit of the doubt. I have not been here yet, they might need to be nominated for the hipster list.
–Black Queer & Trans Resistance Netherlands. Apart from being visible as POC’s in protests, they often have events. In June they have a Black Pride week. Also see: Pride of Color and Colored Qollective down here in this list.
–Blinddate Sex Bios, Rotterdam. I have absolutely no idea what this is like. To my knowledge most “sex cinemas” are rather old fashioned swingers-like venues, with zero knowledge about trans people, and will probably still use the word “she males” but let me know if you’ve been here and what you think of it. Also see: the sex cinema ‘B1’ in Amsterdam.
–Blue… @ Club Church, Amsterdam. =*Honorable mention*= Church is a gay male cruising bar but every thursday also open to women; has drag performances, steamy cruising and darkroom. The organisation is definately transfriendly, and the audience has recently been learning more about transmen. Still lots of sexy fun! Find events on Facebook.
–Bodycult, Amsterdam. Tattoo and piercing studio. Very hygienic, neat, clean, open and very friendly. Go here for intimate piercings if you are a transguy and simply tell them you have a clitoris. They are aware!
–Bodytalk @ Utrecht. Long time gay bar, quite mixed. Sometimes has a ‘dragtastic‘ event where not only drag queens abut also drag kings hop by! A place to hang out and get cozy.C
–Cafe Lellebel, Amsterdam. Cheesy dragshowbar. For a long time I refrained from mentioning this place because I personally think it’s a rather depressing spot to hang out, but I have to admit that some transwomen and transvestites have told me this was the only place they could go for a very long time, so it did serve a historical purpose, even though the Lellebel has virtually no clue on creating a modern woke/safe space.
–Chaps, Nijmegen. Classic gay leather bar in the beautiful south. They say absolutely zero about it on their website but I’ve heard that they are extremely welcoming towards transman, and if anything might happen to you, like if anyone has some nasty comment, simply go to the bar staff and they will support you and throw out whoever is unpleasant. ‘Transmen are men’ is apparently what they say, so that’s a relief.
–Cirkus Klauterwerck @ Ruigoord Kerk, Amsterdam. Since Homogenic went defunct this became the new far away “CirKus” party night for queers and queens, freaks, chems users and friends in legendary Ruigoord. Usually has a Suwanne’s Clit Club side show. There’s shuttle busses going until 6 in the morning to Sloterdijk trainstation. Apparently it’s still happening in 2018.
–Circus Side Show (CSS), usually held in the huge NYX venue. About CSS: white people twerking is never a pretty sight, but fortunately this party is racially very diverse, which feels like a big relief. In the main room the music sounds like as if ‘The Harlem Shake’ is playing for 6 hours non-stop but you should go to the bathroom: that’s where the best DJ’s are playing. And big transfriendly plus point: NO GENDERED TOILETS!!! Go here if you just wanna dance and have a good time with very nice party people of all colors and sexualities.
-Stichting Colored Qollective. A nonprofit organization that aims to provide a platform to queer people of color, to connect and create and feel safe. Also has a facebook page. “Organiseert safer space bijeenkomsten.”
–Cruise Control @ ACU, Utrecht. Long time outstanding queer party in Utrecht. Electro and 80’s italodisco. Mostly queer but also pro gendervariant. Make sure to dress up. It is now bimonthly.
–Club Church, Amsterdam. =*Honorable mention*= Gay male cruising and sex club. Every thursday also open to women. Sometimes on saturdays on ‘SuperSized’ nights mixed as well. The organisation is transfriendly and has been listening to input very well. So now they are the only gay male cruising club OPENLY welcoming transmen! It’s just the beginning and we need more education and transawareness but at least the bar staff will listen to you if you were to encounter any kind of transphobia. They are willing to learn. Also runs ‘Sauna Nieuwezijds.’ Find events on Facebook.
–Club Rits, Utrecht. Usually mixed, gays and lesbians. Occasionally ‘feels’ genderqueerfriendly, highly depending on the theme and which party is going on. I haven’t been there for quite some years now.
–Cruquiusgilde… is burning, Amsterdam. Not sure about this one. It looks like a mixed gay vogue/dance event connected to Club Trouw. Needs to be checked on pricing and safety.
–Cuckoos Nest, Amsterdam, cruising space for gay (leather)men. I’ve actually had one bad report about this place; where one transman was turned away from the darkroom, but I’m keeping them in here until further notice; or else they will be put on the Blacklist.D
–Danserette, Amsterdam. Not sure yet, needs to be checked out. Sounds like a mainstream mixed party with bad taste in music, but might be fun for 90’s pop-loving trans people.
–Dark Allies, @Amsterdam. Lots of potential here. Initiated by the illustrious and charismaticly angelic Maarten Nauw. Dark wave, new wave, queer wave, bats, black pantyhose. Real goths, not fake emo’s, and real queer hetero’s. Must check out soon. But not sure if it’s still happening.
–Diane’s Secret, Den Haag. This is a private sex workers’ club. Like many it is targeted towards heterosexual men in search of a prostitute, but I’ve asked the owner and two of the working girls here are said to have experience with transmen: Valerie and Victoria. I haven’t visited them so cannot share experience on how safe it feels.
–Disco Total, Amsterdam. AMAZINGLY GOOD mixed gay italo dance party. May not be explicitly transfriendly but damn, those DJ’s sure are great. Initiated and hosted by local long-haired arty transfeminine celebrity Maxime de Waal. Unfortunately not as frequent as it used to be.
–Dokhuis Galerie, @ Plantage Doklaan, Amsterdam. Not a queer venue per sé but once in a while queer people go here for art and alternative events. Fabiola’s burial service was held here.
–Dollhouse queer party, Nijmegen.Went there once and absolutely loved it. It’s a queer dance party in the deep south. Expect The Smiths and Siouxie. It used to take place at irregular intervals at the Onderbroek. but now has moved to an interesting looking industrial factory.
–Drag King Academy,@ Church, Amsterdam. Lessons are held (free of charge ) every Thursday 19:00-21:00 at club Church, Kerkstraat 52. Make up and character orientation as the first lesson! Send them a DM on Facebook to sign up. Drag king make up by JJ Cox. Academy organized by: #Houseofnobois , mentored by Taka Taka.
–Drake’s, Amsterdam. Such an odd place… Is it a boutique? Is it a hidden sleazefest? Yes. It’s both of those things. Gay male creepy cruising cave, probably lots of tourists due to its location. I haven’t got a *fucking* clue if this is transfriendly but a transmale friend of mine sure had lots of fun here. Similar to this, but more for bisexuals is Le Salon.E
–EKKO, Utrecht. An alternative, but clean dance hall with restaurant. Is only queer if a queer group like Cruise Control organises something there.
–Erotic Moods, Rotterdam. They are also called ‘Gay Play’ or ‘Moods Bar’ for men-on-men only days. Erotic Moods is a multiple level swingers and sex club, which seems very open to bisexual and transgender people. But I’m put off by their use of the term ‘transsex’, the horrendous term ‘shemale’ and they way they advertise transvestites as an exotic ‘chicks with dicks’ fetish. Presumably this place should be very open towards input and information from transgender people, so send them your remarks if you like.F
–Filmhuis Cavia, Amsterdam. Alternative cinema that regularly shows transthemed films. See: TranScreen.
–Flikker, Amsterdam. Looks interesting. Draws the kind of crowd that also goes to De Trut and to Milkshake. Not sure yet, needs to be checked out.
–Furball, Amsterdam. As long as it is organised by people from Club Church it will be open to transmen! For bears and admirers, for men and transmen only. Expect manly steamy sexyness.G
–Ge3nder @ The Hangout 010, Rotterdam. Besides the Jongensuur this is the only genderqueer gathering in the Netherlands. It’s a social meet-up for non-binary people that started in 2016, very low key, very friendly, and it’s in a secret location. Not sure if meetings are still happening. See also: Hang-out, in this list.
–Gender Bending Queer Party or: GenderClowns @ Worm, Rotterdam. Had an honourable mention but is now renamed, see more at ‘KLAUN’ and the Queer Rotterdam entries on this page. This initiative was the queer dance thing in Rotterdam and quite possibly the best queer thing in the Netherlands for the past years, ever since ‘gay BAR’ quit in 2015. In 2017 they were organizing a dance party called ‘Bent’ but they might have a totally different name again next time. Originated thanks to ‘Get a Room’.
–Genderfree zone @ COC, Leiden. This was, to my knowledge, the ONLY regular party event specifically targeted at transgender and gendervariant people… Small crowd, so you would be dancing on your own, but they have very large mirrors in the dancehall so it’s OK. Usually offered an interesting workshop beforehand for trans* people. I haven’t seen them organising a party in 2018 yet; they only seem to be offering café meetups now.
-Genderfluids Sauna: see @Nieuwezijds.
–Girlesque, women oriented, for LesBi women and their gay guy friends. Varies, depending on the DJ, but mostly neat burlesque performances and nice atmosphere. Sometimes does a big mixed party, like at the Canal Parade. Last time it happened was in ocotber 2017 so it might come back.
–G|O|D (get on down) Another DJ Lupe project, after DILF, UNK and Club Fuxxx all went defunct. If you like gay techno, go here. Usually mixed. Not sure actually if this still exists.
–Grote Broek, Nijmegen. Legalised squat in very nice city. Eat at De Klinker, see art in De Onderboek, occasionally a queer party. I’ve been there and thought it was super nice, but maybe that was because it was ‘queer halloween’ night…H
–Hang-out, the, Rotterdam / The Hague. A secret location where non-western multi-culti gays and lesbians can gather. Other groups also make use of this venue. Send them an email to ask where the address is. There is now also one in The Hague! Called “The Hang-out 070.
–Hoerenbal @ Club Church, Amsterdam. Gay male cruising bar opens up occasionally for over the top, slutty, outrageous and happy dance/sex party. Open for women too. The organisation is definately transfriendly, but the audience doesn’t know much about transmen (yet). Find events on Facebook.
–Herr Zimmerman @ Maassilo, Rotterdam. *Expensive* straight danceparty, but feels like it’s openly welcoming gays, mostly mixed with arty hetero 35-year olds. Nice atmosphere though because of the arty scene.
–‘Hipsters’ in general. I don’t like the general hate against ‘hipsters’ as a social category but I do have to admit that there is something changing, and not for the better. Squatting is now illegal in the Netherlands, something that really breaks my heart, and these places are being replaced by venues that look like squats and abuse their visual language but are 25 times more expensive and unsafe for people with lack of funds or lack of privilege. I have decided to put these places on the black list.
Furthermore: scroll down on this page to ‘Squats’ for more info.
–House of Vineyard, various locations, mostly around NYX @Amsterdam. Voguing, clubbing, art, discussion. Not sure yet how I feel about this; haven’t been to their ballroom classes yet. Their screaming promotion feels like they REALLY WANNABE seen as ‘hip’ pioneers, which they are not. The real pioneers all died darling and/or were seen in Paris is burning. Calm down Beyoncé…
IIHLIA, @OBA, Amsterdam. The Amsterdam Public Library is always free to enter and always has a nice LGBTQIA exhibiton going on on the 6th floor, set up by archival institute IHLIA.
–Keep it Kinky (KiK) Queerminded @ Den Haag. This usually took place in the extremely oddly and sleazy named “LoveHotel Bananas”. From what I’ve heard the atmosphere was really great. Find them on Fetlife only now.
–Kink info workshops, Amsterdam and elsewhere. Hosts ‘Hans’ and ‘QT’ are indeed all-gender welcoming. They also have all gender BDSM play parties in dirty gay cruising club The Eagle.
–Kinky Salon, Amsterdam. I haven’t been there yet, but their publicity material looks a bit too much like femme eyecandy with a lisptick ‘lesbianismforheteroguys’ thing going on… Let me know if you do think they are queerer than they look. They seem to have a dresscode, which automatically makes them unqueer.
–KLAUN, Rotterdam. Born from the defunct Genderbending Queer Party. “A big part of queer life is creating a world of our own. We aim to make everBody feel free to express who they are or want to be. KLAUN introduces a new club night where our multiple identities inspire us every day to connect creatively with our community.”L
–The Lick, @ACU, in Utrecht. Chunks of Indie, Electro, New wave and Alternative. For queers, straights and other flavours, but unfortunaltey more and more hipsters who are unaware of non-oppressive behaviour have discovered it. See also: Kitty Queers.
-LockeRRoom – see Club Church.
–Lola The Green Aardvark, @Mauritskade, Amsterdam. An LGBTQ lunchroom, set up by the sweet and wonderful owners of the now defunct Getto. Food and coffee, hopefully after the pandemic they will have funny drag (kings and queens) contests again. It’s always possible to give them feedback and make them learn.
–Loud, Rotterdam. Honestly: I personally really, really want to put Loud on the blacklist! I mean: which bitch came up with the horrendous idea of a women-only bar that is completely pink?? This shows a lack of history. Anyways, the main thing here is that I don’t think they have bad intentions, they’re just uneducated. And there are almost no women-only bars anymore. I am assuming they are welcoming towards transwomen also, but let me know if this isn’t the case.
–Marije Janssen, not a venue but an actual person; a human being who came to prominence as the initiator of ‘Get a Room’. They are now the human behind their website “Platform voor seksualiteit” from which they spawn workshops and coaching sessions. I jokingly refer to kinky people as “A friend of Marije” and this might actually be quite accurate in the current Dutch BDSM landscape if queer/transfriendlyness comes into play. No pun intended.
–Maruf, international platform for queer Muslims. A selfhelp and activities group. Queer Muslims often face pressure from their communities. They are forced to choose one of their identities. Queer or Muslim? Religion or secularization? Tradition or modernity? Compelled to choose, their right to self-determination and freedom is taken away. Maruf connects, supports and strengthens queer Muslims and their allies.
–Milkshake, @Westerpark, Amsterdam. Crazy expensive hedonistic outdoor yearly dance festival. Haven’t been there yet, but their liberal/diverse visuals and the fact that the people from Club Church go there make it look potentially okay. Although questionable parties such as ‘Vieze Poezendek’ are also represented. They love Amanda Lepore but that says nothing. Needs to be checked out on true transfriendlyness still.
–Moods Bar, gay cruising venue in Rotterdam. See: Erotic Moods.N
–De Nieuwe Anita, Amsterdam, legalised squat and housing community. Very rarely puts up queer events, that are spread through word of mouth or facebook. The audience is usually early 30’s and feels nice, like a small sized Berlin.
–Nieuwezijds, Sauna, Amsterdam.=*Honorable mention*= found at the Nieuwezijds Armsteeg 95. Open to “all men” so yes, transmen are welcome. A stylish and cruisy sauna in the centre of Amsterdam, NieuweZijds offers a nice classy bar with lounge, Jacuzzi, steamroom with tiles, a dry wooden sauna and ample cruising space. I have been quite often For transmen the prize may be a bit too steep (21 euros) but it’s a very stylish looking place! The sauna area is not very big though, which cannot be said about the cruising labyrinth, which seems to take up more than 50% of the space! Exciting! Their website is very avant garde because it INCLUDES a link to safe sex for transmen. A first in the Netherlands for a gay venue. Unfortunately there is no way to undress yourself privately, since there is no toilet before entering the sauna area – so I just push myself towards the lockers as much as I can. You’ll have to undress, keep on your underpants, put a towel around you and then take your pants off. Also it is impossible to shower privately – the good thing is that there is a very sexy glass wall from the sauna looking at the showers. The bad thing is that it is impossible to undo your towel if you wish your genitalia to remain unseen while showering. The organisation informed me about the toiletproblem: the plumbing system did not allow any other set up. Apparently there actually is a bathroom for the disabled but I hadn’t noticed when I was there.
Tip: take your own slippers with you and your own extra towel + a plastic bag to store your wet belongings in afterwards.
–Nieuwland, Amsterdam. Since squatting has become illegal, the movement now needs other strategies. And as usual they involve: money. The Nieuwland collective has succesfully run a long time crowdfunding and purchasing campaign and has now acquired a lovely building with much promise: “After 6 years of negotiations, the old school building in Pieter Nieuwlandstraat is finally ours! Here, an active group of people is establishing a space for living, working, and a social/political neighbourhood centre. There are many ways you could get involved and bring in your interests – become a member, participate in the working groups, donate or invest.”
–NYX and Exit (Amsterdam) are very debatable. They’re not underground venues and are residing right in the very middle of the common ‘gay mainstream’ and rather awful ‘Reguliers’ street, so if you’re alternative, gender-non-conforming or frankly non-conforming in any other way you will not feel very welcome or safe in this area at all, with mostly the Dutch version of ‘Schlager’ music blurting out of the bars, but NYX itself does quite often have some better and slightly more alternative parties going on, such as ‘CSS’.
–OCCII, Amsterdam, legalised squat and nice concerthall, the venue for Spellbound and many alternative (sometimes queer) garageband events, find their stuff in their Knik zine. OCCII is part of the major complex ‘Binnenpret’ which also has the MKZ eetcafé vegan food night.
-Odessa: Queerstatic Dance, Amsterdam. Take off your shoes here, and no alcohol. They moved, unclear if they still exist and will continue after the pandemic.
–De Onderbroek a part of the “Grote Broek” squat in the queerfriendly town of Nijmegen – used to host queer parties at very irregular intervals, but that’s just the way it should be: irregular. I have never been there. Let’s hope more queer people start organising stuff there, because left-winged Nijmegen surely seems a good place for it.
–Overtoom 301, Amsterdam, legalised squat and artspace. Also has a nice transfriendly ‘superhero’ yoga class every monday evening + wednesday evening + fridaymornings. Hosts irregular events, such as Queer Dharma, the very queerfriendly forementioned (Superhero) Iyengar Yoga at Anamorphic Studio, the launch of Amsterdam Alternative, potluck dinners at the Peper, etc. See also: ‘Queer contact jam’.
–Pamela, Amsterdam-West. Looks very, very hip, but it’s a nice LGB bar on the Jacob van Lennepstraat in the not-so-hip-yet Amsterdam-West. Serves snacks. I may remove this entry if they turn out to just be a hipster place.
–Peer Rope Utrecht (UUP) @ ACU, Utrecht. A Dutch group for people who are passionate about rope bondage and anything that comes with that territory. Join this group every 2nd saturday for practicing rope. It’s not a workshop. You don’t need to bring a partner but it’s more practical to come with at least 1 other person so you can be sure you can practice. Nice queerfriendly atmosphere. Find their events on Fetlife.
–De Peper, see: Overtoom 301.
–Pon Di Pride, Amsterdam. Their page says “Pon Di Pride provides Amsterdam a safe space for the BIPOC LGBTQAI+ community. A place where we whine for freedom and Palance against the system” but I haven’t been there yet. It sometimes takes place in the Melkweg, which is a big ‘white’ mainstream place, so it can’t be all that inclusive…? Please let me know how you feel if you’ve been there.
–Pride of Color, Amsterdam. Pride of Colour spotlights and increases events by and for the queer & trans BPOC community during Pride Amsterdam. Initiated by the first official Pride Amsterdam committee for Bi-cultural Programs, Pride of Colour aims to create a more intersectional, representative and inclusive program during Pride Week.
–De Prik, Amsterdam. Just drinks, just relaxed. Mixed but mostly gay men. Feels mainstream but OK because they sometimes invite queer DJ’s.
–Q-Kitchen, @Buurtcentrum De Horizon, Spaarndammerbuurt Amsterdam. There are a couple of cheap kitchen nights in Amsterdam, that you can easily find on Squat.net when looking for ‘voku’ (=’VoKu’ stands for Volks Küche, a German expression that means ‘People’s Kitchen’) – but this one specifically markets itself as queer. Walk through the community center and head up to the first floor. Coloured checkered rainbow table cloths signify you’re in the right place. If you don’t know anyone it can feel intimidating so go with a friend. Also: bring your own bottle of wine.
–Queer Aan Zee, @Den Haag. Every last saturday of the month, informal drinks or picnic. Calls itself ‘queer’ but feels mostly bisexual. Deserves an honorable mention because bisexuals seem to be the new parias of the LGBT community and are almost never mentioned by default like some, continuous blind spot.
–Queer Contact Jam, @Anamorphic Studio OT301, Amsterdam. Every last Sunday, from 15:30-17:30, on the 3d floor. Queer contact improvisation. Intro and jam, no experience necessary. Founded by a trans bear and their partner specifically as a place for “non mainstream” bodies to feel safe.
–Queergym, @Rotterdam. On their Facebook page: “A safe fitness space for all the beautiful queer bodies in Rotterdam.”
–Queer Pride Groningen, Groningen. Way up in the far north of the country something new seems to be blooming. Well, Groningen is one of the three most progressive student driven cities in the Netherands (Utrecht, Nijmegen, Groningen) so this gives me some hope in these dark abortion-abolishing dark times that we’re living in. On june 1 2019 they will have a pride. Hopefully this will generare a whole new community up there.
–Queer Rotterdam *recommended* – ever since their gender bending queer clown party went defunct, Rotterdam is trying to pick up the pieces and continue to provide queer non-binary events at the intersection of partying, politics and safety. Bring your fishiest and most non-binary clown make-up with you when you go here. Totally safe for trans people. Sweet and nice atmosphere. They even have a Discord group, or follow their Facebook page!
–Queeristan now known as “Radical Queer Resistance”, not a venue but an event, usually organised by activists who are part of Queer-NL and their milieu. Houserules apply. Happens every year, usually in may/june/july in Amsterdam. Full of workshops and usually one or two festival parties.
–Reality Bar, Reguliersdwarsstraat, Amsterdam. Not quite transfriendly but very noticeable for one fact: it’s not dominated by white people. “One of the few bars in town where black and white gay guys regularly meet and mingle, this place is always popular during the happy hour, which runs from 8.30pm to 10pm. Things really get going later on though, when ferociously uptempo Latin music pumps from the speakers to get the crowd moving”
–Roodkapje @ Rotterdam. Not a party place but… an art gallery! Sometimes has queer and transgender artists, professional exhibits and queer performers. If you know of more ‘queerfeely’ galleries like these, let me know and I might compile a whole new list.
–Rosario, @ het Blauwe Theehuis, Amsterdam. This one just popped up in my facebook likes. I have absolutely no clue what this is and if it is any good, but the fact that this mixed gay thing takes place in a small bar in the central park of Amsterdam makes it potentially interesting. Needs to be checked on atmosphere.
–SamePlace, Amsterdam. Well known swingers’ bar with occasional Men-on-Men erotic nights. Is openly welcoming transwomen, but… might have too many non-consensual fetishizing distinctions between male and female bodies, how ancient! My personal dilemma is that I feel that I, as a transman, shouldn’t be charged with the same charge as the usual ‘single cis man’. I dislike how they use visual materials that appeal to the hetero male gaze, but well… Guess we have a long way to go. I haven’t checked out the place on non-queer nights yet and actually they should be supported and applauded for having been able to exist for this long.
–Sauna Nieuwezijds: see ‘Nieuwezijds’
–Cafe Saarein II, Amsterdam. Used to have the legendary genderqueer progressive Noodles cafe, which has gone underground and was recently continued into Farfalle (defunct) but Saarein is still very open to transgender- and genderqueer people of all kinds, at least the owners are, but most of the lesbian crowd are not always friendly to transwomen, and may wrongly hit on gay transmen. But it’s fun to go with friends.
–Savannah Bay @Utrecht. Independent book shop with a good LGBTQIA+ section. If you’re looking for a queer community and love books, it’s a good idea to become a volunteer here. Find Savannah Bay on Facebook for hang-out events.
–Spellbound @ OCCII Amsterdam. Used to be perfect, but seems to have a mostly male audience now. Still has great VJ’s and DJ’s, and usually performances, in a beautifully renovated horse tram garage. Mixed alternative dance crowd, downstairs and upstairs. Has a bit of that ‘Berlin feel’ to it.
–Showboat, De Showboat, Zaandam. Swingers’ club. Haven’t been there yet, I would first prefer to contact them on the entrance fee dilemma for single transmen in comparison to the entrance fee for single cis men. Positive point: their publicity material isn’t just fake-lipstick-lesbians.
–Squats and alternative spaces in general: Not one venue but a word of note: squats are not necessarily transfriendly and can be quite homophobic, so before entering make sure to find out if there happens to be a queer event going on. Here is a newspaper that has a listing of alternative spaces and events. I personally have had good experiences with places such as Cafe Budapest @ WG terrein. I have yet to check out Joe’s Garage. I did eat at the Molli, which felt less welcoming then MKZ Eetcafe (see OCCII).
–SQUIRT DU SOLEIL, usually @ Club Church, Amsterdam and @ Same Place. Again an event that I helped to establish. Squirt was an all-genders kinky play event, with workshops. It was mostly inspired by the now defunct womyn-womyn BDSM group ‘Wild Side’ – and events are VERY irregular. Chances are that their Tumblr page will only show a last-minute notification so keep your eyes open in Dutch Fetlife groups. Sometimes their playparties are women-only, so no cis men welcome, which I find very unfortunate. Get updates through their Fetlife group here.
–Squirt aan de Waal @ Chaps, Nijmegen. =*Honorable mention*= A southern spin-off from Squirt du soleil. Has been going on every 3 months or so since 2017. Follow them on their Tumble page for events. Always send them an email if you want to attend! Usually hosted in Chaps the Nijmegen gay crusing bar; very friendly towards all sorts of trans people.
–Steamworks @ Arnhem. You wouldn’t expect a major gay sauna in Arnhem of all places. And on mondays there’s a mixed night where people of all genders are welcome. I haven’t checked this out yet but I am expecting it to be a safe place for transmen. I do sort of expect however that for transwomen, on mondays, you have to be more on your guard and be assertive against straight men (they get charged extra).
–Superhero Yoga, see: Overtoom 301.
–Suwanne’s Clit Club, irregular event at ye olde artist’s resort ADM, on the squatted shipbuilding yard of the ADM (near Amsterdam). It’s an alternative and non-profit mobile and/or pop-up cocktail-bar, strives to be eco-friendly and (self)sustainable.
–T-Breda, Breda. Hoorah! Another transinitiated transinitiative :-) hopefully they will exist longer than others. I haven’t been there yet but it looks like a laid-back monthly pub event. For transpeople who want to be ‘normal’ – which is not my personal necessity, but it can be for others.
-Tender Center, Rotterdam – will post activities mostly in their Facebook group here. Also look under ‘Klaun’ and ‘Queer Rotterdam’.
-The Web: see under “W”.
–T-Girl Party, Amsterdam. Is a party that has A LOT of transwomen actually… transfriendly..? I just don’t know. I haven’t been here yet, but this particular event caters to tranny chasers who still google ‘girls like us’ under such keywords as ‘she-males’ and that has quite the bad effect on transwomen in general, so I shouldn’t be promoting it here. However, I still need to check this out myself, and it seems there are quite a few T-girls who like going here (if they look like porn models that is) so let’s give it a mention at least… Please tell me what you think about this!
–Tolhuistuin, Amsterdam. I almost put them on the blacklist/hipsterlist, but since they did a fundraiser for refugees I’m more positive about them, although they still host many (expensive) parties in their main dance space that has the atmosphere of a 50’s workmen canteen (because this is what it used to be). Ambiguous.
–TranScreen, Amsterdam. I initiated it, so of course it’s queer! :-D Happens every two years (next is in 2019!), with lots of transgender and gendervariant films and some incredible parties…! Houserules apply. And every two months, every 2nd saturday, TranScreen shows a film in Filmhuis Cavia with free queer party afterwards!
–De Trut, Amsterdam. Queer sundays, cheap beer, and anti-hetero welcome sign in a muddy basement. Dykes, faggots, potten, flikkers. Some gendervariant people go there to party every sundaynight amongst the mostly young gay crowd with even younger fag hags. The queue is actually more fun than the party itself. Has awfully bad DJ’s sometimes. Enforces houserules (NO cellphones!). Some very transphobic things have taken place here and this venues’ hazing-like attitude hasn’t improved any of it. Possible nominee for my blacklist.
–Transcafe Den Haag @COC, never heard of this until now. So this is another one of those trans bar-hangout things, but people who are not trans are also welcome. Haven’t been there yet.
–Transcafé Rotterdam is a new monthly trans-of-all-genders-all-ages social bar evening in Café Praag (better known as COC Rotterdam). They are quite active on Facebook and seem to connect well with Rotterdam Pride. I have yet to check it out.
–Vera, Groningen. Alternative rock venue for bands. Sometimes queerish crowd.
–Vondelbunker, owned by the Zwijger squatters. Good spot, very good. Hosts low-income creative events such as the Fringe festival.
–Vrankrijk, Amsterdam. Legalized squat with a troubled history, now back again as a punk/hiphop/rock space. Sometmes hosts Yarr (a lesbian party). For something much more interesting see: WTF queer wednesdays.
–Vreemd, @ Café de Plak, Nijmegen. In one of the most queer and transgenderfriendly cities of the Netherlands there’s a two monthly queer thing in Café de Plak vega restaurant. I haven’t checked it out yet, so cannot say what it’s like but at least the name is great! Some people say it feels like De Trut, others say it’s actually not that queer. Needs to be checked out.
–Wasteland, various venues. This is mainstream fetish crap, but sometimes there’s some nice queer people (not many). The fetishist scene is well know for being uniformed about consent. I haven’t been there yet so need to check it out.
–The Web, Amsterdam. A gay (leather) cruising bar with a nice atmosphere and a darkroom that I visit myself. The Web staff has been very friendly and welcoming towards transmen as customers! In order to guarantee your safety their request is: pick up men in the bar area on ground level, disclose your trans status there and from then on take them upstairs to the darkroom. Cozy hangout bar, funny small bingo night. The darkroom is not very dark, which is good so you can still communicate physically and see your partners’ body language. Great diversity of customers. There are some private cabins, and The Webs’ official advice to transmen is to not take your pants down outside the cabins; first chat up in the bar area and consider to disclose your transstatus to your potential man there.
The Web had a monthly trans event in 2017 but that’s now defunct.
–WORM @ Rotterdam. Institute for avant-gardistic recreation. Many, many music venues have completely disappeared from Rotterdam, but this one has stayed. This is usually where the ‘Gender Bending Queer Party’ is hosted by the good people from Get A Room. They also have a mobile bar which acts as a miniature stage, called ‘the performance bar.’
–WTF Wednesdays (What The Fuck), @ Vrankrijk, Amsterdam. Legendary small squat Vrankrijk has reopened since june 2011 and hosts a queer night every wednesday from 22:00h. And once a month on saturdays. Their events aren’t announced on their website though so you need to be friends with a queer on Facebook in order to be able to know what the themes are. Transmen, genderqueers and transwomen are hither. Alternative squat atmosphere, performances. Lots of cigarette smoke so a drag for people with asthma.
Heteros are welcome but please understand there is a REASON why some people go underground; because the mainstream gives queer people enough shit every day already. If you are a cis hetero male: please do not flirt with the women here by default… If you don’t understand privilege, stay away.
Good practices from the past that are now defunct:
–ADM (now defunct), Amsterdam. Legendary and amazing harbor squat. A free zone before the term even existed and one of my favorite places. Was under threat of eviction for a long time, which hurt my heart immensely. It made me want to leave Amsterdam. Support them anytimee you can.
December 2018 they were all evicted. The end of an era.
–Antarctica, Amsterdam. UPDATE: now EVICTED squat, keeping it here for good practice; had many interesting cultural events. Queers, activists, students, people from the neighbourhood all together in one very special place. Movies, free up-for-grabs store, poetry, performances, food and dancing. Sadly it was evicted in 2014, but if you friend them on Facebook, you will notice their coregroup still organizes cultural events in pop-up locations.
-Candystore Queerparty, Arnhem, sometimes took place in Willem1 at irregular intervals. Personally haven’t been there and I’m assuming it was more ‘gay’ and mainstream than genderfluid.
–Get a room & Festival Drift @ Utrecht & Rotterdam. This used to be a film night from a primarily progressive sex-positive feminist view. Would show transgender and/or queer porn. Currently, as of 2018, they’ve mostly spun off into the excellent “Gender Bending Queer Party” in Rotterdam. Originally ‘Get a Room’ was initiated bij Marije Janssen – very open minded towards trans people, kinksters, artists, mixed abilities, swingers and gays. The perfect mix. Get a Room spinned off quite a bunch of new connections between people from different scenes and made them find each other on Fetlife. See more from Marije at the letter “M” in this list.
–The Ponyclub @De Unie, Rotterdam
-The Ponyclub @Club Zonder Concessies, Rotterdam
–Her Dick @Poortgebouw, Rotterdam. Came with a brilliant zine by its organisers: Elle Bandita and Philippa. Since they left, nothing queer seems to happen there anymore.
–Queer Smear, Utrecht. Irregular Ladyfest-originated queer performance party. The organisation was very transfriendly and genderconscious. The audience not always equally as much… But the organisers were nice and they always asked me to perform, so that’s a good thing.
–Kitty Queers @ ACU, Utrecht. Was the queerest for 10 years. Mostly queer alternative rock. Always lovely and always gendervariant-friendly. Unfortunately they quit. The last party was on march 24th 2012. It seems ‘The Lick’ try to follow their footsteps in ACU.
–Thermos, Amsterdam. Gay sauna. Originally they did not allow people ‘without a penis’ in their venue (because I asked them through email) but after some communication with me, and a long internal discussion, they finally did. I went in by myself, before officially asking access, because I had a sex date with a guy who wanted to meet there. I kept on my swimming trunks but I was the only one who did. After a while I decided to walk around in a towel (which is very common there) so I wouldn’t stand out. They had large private cabins across 3 floors so this is where you can undress completely. Although when I was there some pushy voyeurs were really difficult to turn away from the doors while I was having sex in a private cabin with a date.
–Villa Friekens, sadly lost squat somewhere in Amsterdam. The squat from fantasies… Had a queer party only once every 2 years or so, but they are legendary. Don’t talk about where it is. It got evicted in 2015 and would be the final large squat to disappear, meaning an essential part of low-income creativity in Amsterdam is now gone.
–WALP and Wild Side: the women/women S&M kinky events were always very transman- and transwoman-friendly. Wild Side would pair up, once a year, with the men-on-men kinksters from the excellent Vagevuur in Eindhoven, resulting in an incredibly avant garde queer play party. These days you have to travel to Berlin, Seattle or Manchester for this… People from these women/women groups have now completely moved to Fetlife, a kink/fetish social network site. Some of them were involved with BDSMNext which is now also defunct.
–Zsa Zsa Zine, Amsterdam. Feminist gender/queer library, I was part of the initiation of this collective. Every 2nd saturday of the month you could come by. This comic archive center saught to collect feminist, queer and People-Of-Color zines and comics. A space for zinefreaks, comicfans, zinesters, artists, and every one else who loved comics, zines, coffee and cupcakes. You could watch, read, draw, write, paint, cut & paste, eat, drink, hang out or even fall a sleep!
NB: Most cities have nothing at the moment, but used to be booming when there were more squatters. This is a national trend, remember?:
Buttkraaker and ‘Freakndel’, and Havana and the Pink Lighthouse (various squatted venues, all gone), Schijnheilig (evicted squat – now occasionally rents the Vondelbunker) and Antarctica, and De Valreep, het Slangenpand and Villa Friekens, and, and… probably more.
The queer community –needs– autonomous spaces because obviously right now there’s no way to be transfriendly in male dominated gay spaces.
We need accessible spaces for minorities, trans people without papers and poor queers to keep on feeding ourselves with new ideas, away from the mainstream.
If you happen to know of any more mixed, non-heteronormative and genderqueervariantfriendly spaces: let me know in the comments section! Here is a currently updated list of squats – sometimes it’s better to NOT mention the location of a squat in order to keep them safe from evictions.
If anyone has feedback on this list, you can do that anonymously by emailing me, or do it down here by adding comments.